Technologies such as hydrogen, carbon capture, microgrids and others are set to receive a significant funding boost as the Commonwealth Government sees to generate employment and stimulate take-up of low emissions technologies.

In a joint announcement, Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction Angus Taylor have announced a $1.9 billion investment package which it says would generate employment, reduce energy bills and improve the reliability of our energy supply.

Under the package, the Australian Renewable Energy Agency will receive around $1.43 billion in guaranteed baseline funding over ten years.

Beyond that, additional measures will include:

  • $95.4 million to create a new Technology Co-Investment Fund that was recommended by the King Review which will support businesses in agriculture, manufacturing, industrial and transport to adopt technologies that increase productivity and reduce emissions.
  • $50 million in investment in the Carbon Capture Use and Storage Development Fund to pilot carbon capture projects.
  • $74.5 million into a new Future Fuels Fund to help businesses and regional communities take advantage of opportunities offered by hydrogen, electric, and bio-fuelled vehicles with
  • $70.2 million to set up a hydrogen export hub to scale-up demand and take advantage of advancements in this technology.
  • $67 million to back new microgrids in regional and remote communities.
  • $52.2 million in contributions to increase the energy productivity of homes and businesses, including a sector specific grant program for hotels supporting equipment and facilities upgrades
  • $24.6 million to slash the time taken to develop new Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF) methods from 24 months or more to less than 12 months, involve industry in a co-design process and implement other recommendations from the King Review into the ERF,
  • $40.2 million to boost energy and emissions data and cyber-security reporting and support the delivery of future Low Emissions Technology Statements under the Technology Investment Roadmap process, as well as to develop an offshore clean energy project development framework.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the plan was about creating employment and supporting the next generation of energy technologies.

“Our JobMaker plan is about protecting and creating the jobs of today and positioning Australia for the jobs of the future, which is why our investment in new technologies is so crucial,” the Prime Minister said.

“Australia is in the midst of a world-leading boom in renewable energy with over $30 billion invested since 2017. Solar panels and wind farms are now clearly commercially viable and have graduated from the need for government subsidies and the market has stepped up to invest.

“The Government will now focus its efforts on the next challenge: unlocking new technologies across the economy to help drive down costs, create jobs, improve reliability and reduce emissions. This will support our traditional industries – manufacturing, agriculture, transport – while positioning our economy for the future.

“These investments create jobs and they bring new technologies into play. This will not only cut emissions, but deliver the reliable energy Australia needs while driving down prices for homes and businesses.”

Building industry lobby groups welcomed the latest announcement, stressing the improving energy efficiency in the built environment is crucia

“While this is a modest commitment in the overall scheme of things, it’s a great starting point and we look forward to working with the federal government on building the momentum for amore ambitious focus on energy efficiency in our built environment to drive down emissions while delivering more affordable and reliable energy,” Taylor said.

“Given the government’s focus on technology-based solutions to reduce emissions, the built environment which accounts for around one-quarter of our emissions should be a priority for further government incentives and support.”

ASBEC’s Executive Director, Suzanne Toumbourou agrees.

“Energy efficiency is jobs-intensive and taps richly into local supply chains.” Toumbourou said.

“The expansion of ARENA’s mandate creates a great opportunity to support this sector by backing the deployment of technologies to deliver energy productivity at scale through the built environment.

“At a time when bill savings and consumer empowerment are more important than ever, we also welcome the Government’s decision to facilitate improved building energy efficiency through energy performance rating schemes for homes and non-residential buildings.”